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compost in lid

Tip: How to keep worms in your compost pile

by Connie Oswald Stofko I like to have worms in my compost bin to help break down the plant matter that will turn into rich compost. When I harvest my finished (or partly finished) compost from the bottom of my bin, it’s full of worms. I don’t need the worms in my gardens or containers; I’d prefer to keep them in my compost bin, but I don’t want to take the worms out one by one. Here’s a quick way…

Logo for Gala at Botanical Gardens

Gala at the Gardens goes virtual this year

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will hold their Gala at the Gardens virtually this year. You can bid on the silent auction and participate in the basket raffle from 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. Preview the items now and sign up to participate. Browse and bid at your convenience on your mobile device on both the virtual silent auction and basket raffle, and receive live text updates on your bids. Bid often! Do you have an item…

cutting from a coleus

Take cuttings of annuals now while the plant is in its prime

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to take cuttings of annuals to take inside for the winter, now is is the time to do it. Cuttings need to be taken while the plants are in their prime, not after they start to fade, said Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature. The coleus in the photo can be rooted easily placing the cutting in a glass or small vase of water. Tip: Cut off the leaves on the part of…

late blight on tomatoes

Protect tomatoes; late blight detected in Chautauqua County

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight, which affects tomatoes and potatoes, is present in Chautauqua County and is expected it to be found fairly soon in Cattaraugus County and Pennsylvania, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program. Given the current weather patterns, there is real risk that late blight has already traveled on the storm fronts to new places.  You may not be upset if you lose a few tomato plants, but this disease spreads easily and can be very…

daylilies after blossoms

Should you cut leaves off daylilies in autumn?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Local gardeners have been asking whether they can cut down the leaves on daylily plants. The flowers are gone, leaving brown stems. Some of the leaves are browning, too. It’s not a pretty sight. If you need something to do and you would like a tidier garden, pull out the brown bloomstalks and pull off the brown foliage, said Kathy Guest Shadrack, who does communications for the Buffalo Area Daylily Society. But don’t cut back the green daylily…

sunflower by Stofko

Thank you to my first group of Super Readers!

by Connie Oswald Stofko I am thrilled by the response to my announcement of Super Readers last week! Thank you! Here’s what being a Super Reader is all about: It’s a way to help me stay in business so I can keep offering you great gardening content every week. I know that gardeners value this magazine because they get timely information that really works in our area, so I considered charging a subscription fee. But no matter what amount I…

blue bottles, painted allium and other garden ornaments

Labor Day is approaching, but don’t give up on your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s September, a time when some gardeners give up on their gardens. But not Patti Zander and Bob Van Hise, who shared their gardens during the City of Tonawanda Garden Walk on Aug. 22. “Oh, I would never give up on my gardens!” Zander said. “We just live for summer. As long as things are alive, we’re out here watering and deadheading.” They have three rain barrels to help keep them supplied with water. No garden…

Could you be a Super Reader?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Have you ever found a helpful tip in that you can use in your own garden? When the shutdown occurred, did you turn to’s Events page to find out about cancellations? Later, were you happy when you discovered that things were starting up again? Do you like seeing all the pretty pictures of gardens? Then you could be a Super Reader of! To stay in business and keep offering you great local content…

gloved hand weeding garden

Volunteers needed by two groups to help with gardening tasks

Two WNY groups are seeking volunteers to help with gardening. North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Volunteers are needed for community work days with the North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Organization, 1825 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda. Meet at the gazebo. Sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Dates are Sept. 12 and Oct. 3 and 17. Ongoing projects are weeding, mulching and setup of raised beds in the fenced-in perennial bed area. There are 11 acres to keep social distance. Any level…


How to deal with chipmunks in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints lately from gardeners who are having problems with chipmunks. I talked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, and my first question was whether we have more chipmunks in Western New York. “We have been getting occasional calls on chipmunks for many years, so I don’t think their populations have increased significantly,” he said. But they can be a problem for gardeners. “If their populations build…

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